From a spiritual or musical perspective, Coventry is probably famous for two things. Firstly, for the destruction of its ancient cathedral during German bombing in the Second World War and the phoenix-like rise of its modern successor. Secondly, for the two tone ska revival of the late 70s where for a brief moment, the Coventry music scene was cool.
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Jubilate Christian Bookshop
Location: 55 Ely Street, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6LN
Facts: An independent shop which has charitable status and is run by trustees, Jubilate has been in Stratford Upon Avon for 15 years. The shop stocks approximately 100 CD titles and worship music sells best though the best CCM sellers are The Tribe, Delirious? and Rebecca St James.
About The Ministry: "Our ministry is to serve the local churches."
Wesley Owen Books & Music
Location: 21 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HX
Facts: This Wesley Owen store has been in City Arcade for 20 years. The store was refurbished one year ago, making it one of the smartest stores in the chain. One highlight is the fact that the store has an entire floor of remaindered stock at half price or less so there are plenty of bargains available. The store stocks around 1000 CD titles with Delirious?, Tim Hughes, Michael W Smith, Hillsong and Robin Mark the current best sellers. The shop does also stock some CDs by local artists.
About The Ministry: Richard Morris (manager): "My heart is in evangelism but I pray that whatever we sell touches people.'
Nexus Academy Of Music Ministry
Location: 71 Albany Road, Coventry, CV5 6JR
Facts: Nexus was launched in September 1998 with its first batch of students. The mission statement is straightforward: "Equipping for excellence in music, worship, ministry, mission, life." Currently the academy has 65 students who are specializing in vocals, guitar, bass, drums or keyboards. Dave Silber is the founder of the school and the visionary behind its activities. The former drummer with TVB spoke to Mike Rimmer.
MR: You recently acquired new premises for Nexus. How did that come
DS: As the student numbers were growing every year we knew that we would soon outgrow our present premises. We had previously looked at almost every building available in the city and hadn't found anything that met our size and soundproofing needs. One day John Allard, a former student, emailed me and said that God had been speaking to him about a building project and had given him the faith to see it through. I passed a building on the way to work one day and thought that if it was available it would be a nice size and nice location for the school. It used to be a cinema and was just outside the city centre on a major bus route. I told John about it and said he should get a group together to pray about it. Two days later a for sale sign went up on the building. We looked around it and were convinced it was right for us but we still had the problem of finding £600,000 and we didn't have a penny at that point. We still put in an offer and the students prayed and fasted for the next month. Confirmation came when we received the first £50,000 for the deposit. For the next 16 months we kept pressing ahead and God kept providing the money for work we had already commissioned and almost always at the eleventh hour. We still owe some money that we borrowed but on the first day of this academic year we received the keys (about 30 minutes before the students arrived and we moved in).
MR: What facilities do you have?
DS: We have tried to restore the building to look similar to what it looked like in the '20s and '30s when people entered into a chandeliered foyer and into a domed cinema to see the latest films. We have just over 12,000 square feet of space. On the ground floor we now have soundproofed classrooms for all of the instrumental classes which can also double as rehearsal or recording rooms. We have two additional practice rooms for the bands. There is a student common room with tuck shop, kitchen, etc, a prayer room which is part of a 24/7 prayer initiative in the Coventry area, and some small meeting rooms and admin offices.
Upstairs we have a 350 seater concert hall, a library, staff room, kitchen for catering and more offices. It is completely soundproofed enabling us to practice and rehearse whenever we like, or in the case this month when we broke the world endurance drumming record, with 12 drummers playing for 33 hours without stopping. It is a fantastic facility and we continually thank God for providing it for us.
MR: What about recordings by your students, where do these fit in?
DS: We run a 20 week songwriting module as part of the course. This finishes with songs being auditioned, arranged and then recorded on a compilation CD. Every student gets the opportunity to participate and these albums serve as a vehicle for teaching song development and studio skills.
MR: What kind of things do they learn other than their instrument?
DS: Alongside the music courses, they study an accredited course in Christian Leadership skills with worship. This involves a biblical studies programme, a ministry skills programme and a practical skills programme which includes everything from budgeting skills to public speaking. We try to provide practical ministry opportunities for the students throughout the year enabling them to apply in a "real" setting the different things they are being taught. It is a "hands on" learning experience.
MR: What happens to students when they graduate, what are the
DS: About 40% go on to join bands that are involved in evangelistic or worship ministries right across the world. Another big percentage end up working in a local church setting involved in worship and youth ministries. The others tend to have a fairly clear calling as songwriters, worship leaders, teachers, missionaries and they leave the school full of faith, anxious for God to use them to change their world.
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